Spring Grove's Brooks too hot to handle once again
William Penn High School had a gas leak Wednesday afternoon.
Thankfully, it was patched up before the start of the YAIAA Division I boys' basketball game with Spring Grove because Rockets' player Eli Brooks has been hot enough lately to set it off.
Brooks, the University of Michigan commit, reached the 40-point plateau for the third time in six games as Spring Grove earned a 71-66 win against the Bearcats at William Penn High School.
"Even though I scored as many points as I did, we found scoring in other ways," Brooks said. "Other people contributed. That was the difference (from the first time the two teams met in December). It was a good win for us."
Spring Grove (10-4, 7-2 Division I) had been riding a five-game winning streak until Carlisle dealt the Rockets a 30-point loss on Monday. The Rockets entered Wednesday's game as the No. 6 ranked team in District 3 Class 5A.
The Rockets have been riding the strong play of Brooks during that streak. The senior averaged over 34 points per game during that span, including a career-best 46-point effort at Central York on Jan 11.
"To be quite honest, he is the best player I've ever coached against," said William Penn coach Clovis Gallon. "He's smart. He's athletic. He rallies around his teammates. The kids on that team sell out and buy into that philosophy of what it's going to take to win. He's such a humble kid too, but a fierce competitor inside those lines."
William Penn (6-8, 4-5 Division I) is sitting in the middle of the pack in Division I, but had won four of its past six entering the game with Spring Grove. The Bearcats are now on the outside looking in at the District 3 Class 5A tourney field, sitting at No. 21 in the rankings as of Wednesday.
"Everybody is making their playoff push right now," Gallon said. "We are hanging on by a string right now. The kids know the situation we are in right now and are focused on the task at hand."
The Rockets led wire to wire against William Penn. Brooks scored 10 in the opening quarter as Spring Grove built a 20-12 lead.
"That was important (to get out ahead early)," said Spring Grove coach James Brooks. "And we don't usually give up a lot of points. That was good."
The Bearcats rallied, coming within a bucket after a 3-pointer by Clovis Gallon Jr. with 2:57 left in the third, but another Rockets run gave them an 11-point advantage with under three minutes to play.
William Penn rallied again but got no closer than 69-66 after a Jayden Inturmendi 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds to play.
Austin Panter finished with 12 for Spring Grove while sophomore forward Marquise McClean led William Penn with 16 points.